Guide to Diving Raja Ampat, Papua


Voted as one of the best diving spots in the world, Pulau Raja Ampat / Raja Ampat islands are the next travel destination for not only divers but also nature lovers and travelers alike. The name itself meant four kings and it is well known for its riches in wild marine life, pristine reefs, and corals. It consists of 1500 unique small islands.

Whether you are in Raja Ampat on a budget or out to splurge, there is surely something for you here on this paradise.

Where is it

Raja Ampat islands are located in the northwest tip of Papua (formerly known as Irian Jaya) in Indonesia.

Why go

Diver’s paradise as Raja Ampat has a vast marine life diversity that would wow even the most seasoned diver. It is part of the world’s Coral Triangle which is known for housing more than 3000 species of fish and other extraordinary habitats that breeds the biodiversity of its marine life. Many scientists still travel there today to discover new species in the ocean. You may well put this place into your list of diving trips!

Also, Raja Ampat is a remote place almost left untouched by development and only touched by explorers that are nature lovers and independent travellers that care and travel responsibly. Here you can also meet with the local Papuan people and directly contribute to their living and get to immerse themselves in their culture.

When is the best time to go

Indonesia being a tropical climate of only two seasons, dry and wet, it is best to visit during the dry season to maximize your marine visibility. You may go around late September until early June, between June to September will be the monsoon season where there will be a lot of rain, especially in the afternoon. The best time to dive in Raja Ampat is November or December, where more sightings of Manta rays, Orca whales, and dolphins are reported.

What to do

Dive, dive and dive!
You trip to Raja Ampat will never be complete without diving here as you have more than 30 dive sites to choose from where you can enjoy thr diverse and amazing marine lives. You may get dive in places filled with coral gardens or walls to mangroves and wreck diving. Some of the famous dive sites in Raja Ampat are Cape Kri, Sardines, Manta Sandy and Mios Kon.

 -> Check out Raja Ampat liveaboard diving trips * 

Snorkel at many of the sites above if diving is not your thing, you’ll be pleasantly delighted that there are many marine lives as well in the shallow area.

Explore the islands by boats or visit the Red Bird of Paradise or the bat caves in Tomolol.

Trek around the island to discover waterfalls.

What to see

Tour around Papua villages to see Asmat artisan’s wood sculptures or their fishing techniques or traditional performance of bamboo flute.

Watch the famous Sea Ghost phenomenon at East Waigeo where at the end of the year where a light would appear from the ocean and wander around the surface for about 15 minutes and then disappears.

Where to stay

There are some dive resorts and eco resorts in Raja Ampat* dotted around for you to choose from or you may go different and choose the few homestays available in villages. One popular homestays kind of resort here is the creatively named Alter Native Stay *. The other on the more budget side is the TeraAilan Heritage Resort * and .

 -> Find your place to stay at Raja Ampat on * 

What and where to eat

If you did not get a diving package or other packages there that are most likely to cover your food, you may go around and eat traditional local food. Try the special fish soup call Sup Ikan Kuning (yellow fish soup) that are made with local spices.

How to get there

Fly into international airports in Indonesia such as Jakarta, Surabaya or Bali (Denpasar) and then connect by domestic flight to Sorong, Raja Ampat. Some of the Indonesian airlines that fly to Sorong, Papua are Garuda Indonesia, Merpati, Sriwijaya Air, Lion Air and Batavia air while international Airlines is Silk Air.

From Sorong to Raja Ampat, you may take either the Speed Boat, which takes about 1 hour at cost 2 million Rp or a Long Boat, which takes 2-3 hours at cost 1.2mil RP.

How to get around

You can mostly travel around by boat here, like from Sorong to Wasai, on longboats, speedboats, liveaboard or dive boats. For land travel on the islands, you may normally cover by walking or hop one of the ubiquitous ojek (motorcycle taxi). Going on a liveaboard diving boat is also very popular here as it is an amazing way to explore the remote islands.

Where to go nearby

Get back to Sorong and then proceed to discover the rest of Papua. You may fly to Jayapura and then discover Baliem Valley and Lorentz National Park.

Since Raja Ampat is in the tip of Papua of Indonesia, it is near to the Maluku Islands; you may arrange to head there for further dive trips and exploration.

Travel Tips

Before you can go to the dive spots, you would need to get a permit from the local Papua police station. Bring three copies of your passport page with Indonesian Visa.

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